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E03577: Coptic fragment from the Miracles of *Leontios (martyr of Tripolis, Phoenicia, S00216) taking place at his martyr shrine in Tripolis, involving the settlement of a legal battle between two business partners; written most likely in the 6th/7th century.

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posted on 2017-08-18, 00:00 authored by gschenke
While the miracle itself is not preserved, the story leading up to it, is most likely going to involve the punishment of one of the party, and a conversion to Christianity of the other, as well as a large donation to the martyr shrine.

A rich pagan businessman lent his Christian scribe a large sum of money. When he wanted it back, the scribe told him that he never received anything. He had destroyed the document recording his debt and accused the rich man of trying to cheat on him.

The pagan businessman then asked his Christian scribe to swear an oath of his innocence at the shrine of the martyr Leontios to settle the matter once and for all.

Till, KHML 2, p. 128, lines 1–7:

ⲡⲉϫⲉ ⲡⲣⲙⲙⲁⲟ ⲛⲁϥ ϫⲉ ⲁⲙⲟⲩ ⲛⲅⲱⲣⲕ ⲛⲁⲓ ⲁⲩⲱ ϯⲛⲁⲁⲡⲟⲧⲁⲥⲥⲉ ⲛⲛⲁⲛⲟⲩⲃ ⲡⲉϫⲁϥ ⲟⲛ ϫⲉ ⲁⲓⲥⲱⲧⲙ ⲉⲛϭⲟⲙ ⲙⲛ ⲛⲉϣⲡⲏⲣⲉ
ⲉⲧϣⲟⲟⲡ ϩⲙ ⲡⲙⲁⲣⲧⲩ[ⲣⲓⲟⲛ] ⲙⲡϩⲁⲅⲓ[ⲟⲥ ⲗⲉ]ⲱⲛⲧⲓⲟⲥ [ⲛⲧⲣⲓ]ⲡⲟⲗⲓⲥ ·
ⲁϥⲧⲁⲁϥ ⲇ[ⲉ ϩⲓ ⲧⲉ]ϩⲓⲏ ⲙⲛ ⲡ[ⲉⲭⲣⲓⲥ]ⲧⲓⲁⲛⲟⲥ · [ⲁⲩⲉⲓ] ⲉϩⲟⲩⲛ ⲉⲡ[ⲙⲁⲣ]ⲧⲩⲣⲓⲟⲛ [ⲙⲡϩⲁ]ⲅⲓⲟⲥ ⲗⲉⲱ[ⲛⲧⲓ]ⲟⲥ ·

‘The rich man said to him: “Come and swear an oath for me and I will renounce my money.” He also said: “I have heard about the miracles and wonders occurring at the martyr shrine of saint Leontios in Tripolis.”
He took to the road, together with the Christian, (and) [they entered] the martyr shrine of saint Leontios.’

(Text: W. C. Till, KHML 2, 126–129; summary and trans. G. Schenke)


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Leontios, martyr in Tripolis (Syria), ob. c. 303-312 : S00216

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Hagiographical - Collections of miracles Late antique original manuscripts - Parchment codex


  • Coptic

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Egypt and Cyrenaica

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Hermopolis ϣⲙⲟⲩⲛ Ashmunein Hermopolis

Cult activities - Places

Martyr shrine (martyrion, bet sāhedwātā, etc.)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts

Cult Activities - Miracles

Miracle after death Punishing miracle Miracles causing conversion

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Pagans Other lay individuals/ people


Two pages of a former parchment codex preserved at the papyrus collection in Vienna, K 9487, pages 67/68. Layout and script suggest a date for manufacture somewhere in the 9th–11th century.


For a similar miracle story see E00666, the Encomion on saint Kollouthos, miracles five: § 98–108: The fifth and final miracle account related is the story of a trusting businessman/moneylender who was cheated by his scribe to whom he had lent a large sum of money (50 gold coins). The scribe, however, secretly removes his document of debt from the moneylender’s files. When asked to return the gold coins he had been given together with the customary interest (here 10 gold coins, i.e. 20%), the scribe claims that he had never received any money from the moneylender. They argue back and forth, and the moneylender finally suggests to enter the shrine of saint Kollouthos, so that the scribe could swear in the presence of the saint that he had truly not received any money, nor destroyed the record of debt. The scribe agrees to do this with fatal consequences: ‘At the end of all this, the businessman said to him: “If I have not given them (the 50 gold coins) to you, come with me to the shrine (topos) of saint Kollouthos. Swear to me that I have not given you anything and that you have not taken the contract which was in my house. I am not bound with you.” But the devil had completely filled the man. He [the scribe] said to him [the businessman]: “Move along and I swear for you.” They went into the shrine of saint Kollouthos. The businessman implored the man: “My brotherly Lord, take 25 gold coins for yourself and give 25 to me. I relieve you from the interest, only do not swear by the power of the martyr!” The man said to him: “I swear to you. You are truly, beside yourself!” Immediately, he went to the altar and swore, saying: “By the powers of the martyr and the sufferings which he has borne and by the miracles which he has revealed, you have not given me any money, nor did I bring a contract to your house.” At once, before even the word left his mouth, he fell to the ground and was like dead. He cried out saying: “I have sinned. One is the God of saint Kollouthos. Behold, the 50 gold coins are in my house. They are those of that man. I have stolen the contract.” When the businessman saw what had happened, he was very afraid. He went to his house and brought 20 gold coins. He donated them to the shrine (topos) of saint Kollouthos. The steward (oikonomos) assigned them for offering expenditures. The man, on his part, sent (someone) to his house and he brought the 50 gold coins. He gave them to the businessman. But the businessman also donated the 50 gold coins to the shrine of saint Kollouthos. The man who had sworn falsely swelled up entirely. He died, before the sun had set. He was taken away and buried.’


Text and German translation: Till, W.C., Koptische Heiligen- und Martyrlegenden. Vol. 2 (Rome: Pont. institutum orientalium studiorum, 1936), 126–129.

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity